Surprise—Teens Ignore Adults Who Tell Them to Not Have Sex

A long-term study of "abstinence only sex education" shows that it doesn't work. The Washington Post reports:

A long-awaited national study has concluded that abstinence-only sex education, a cornerstone of the Bush administration's social agenda, does not keep teenagers from having sex. Neither does it increase or decrease the likelihood that if they do have sex, they will use a condom.

The Feds spend $176 million per year on the failed program. Harry Wilson, a top official in the Department of Health and Human Services, told the Post that $176 million:

"is not that much money when it comes to offering an alternative to the other message."

Not that much money? After all, the money is really just symbolic and needn't actually accomplish anything, just so long as it garners votes from religious conservatives.

Anyway, the good news is that teen pregnancies are down largely due to greater use of contraception.

By the way, a new report, Trends in Premarital Sex in the United States, 1954-2003, finds that most Americans have been enjoying premarital sex for a long time. To wit:

Contrary to the public perception that premarital sex is much more common now than in the past, the study shows that even among women who were born in the 1940s, nearly nine in 10 had sex before marriage.

The new study uses data from several rounds of the federal National Survey of Family Growth to examine sexual behavior before marriage, and how it has changed over time. According to the analysis, by age 44, 99% of respondents had had sex, and 95% had done so before marriage. Even among those who abstained from sex until age 20 or older, 81% had had premarital sex by age 44.

Whole WaPo article on abstinence-only findings here.

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  • VM||

    thanks for the interesting article, Ron!

    "is really just symbolic and needn't actually accomplish anything, just so long as it garners votes from religious conservatives"

    amen.

    Penn and Teller have a fun show on this topic, as most probably know.

    cheers!

    VM

  • ||

    Preliminary comment:

    "Contrary to the public perception that premarital sex is much more common now than in the past, the study shows that even among women who were born in the 1940s, nearly nine in 10 had sex before marriage."

    The more relvant question is about the number of women (or men) who had premarital sex with someone *other than the person they ultimately married.* Has this figure remained constant over the years? If it had, I suspect the media would be trumpeting the figures. But what do I know?

    On to the point of this post:

    First, let me say I'm shocked, shocked to find that a federal program has failed in its (avowed) objectives. Bringing teenagers into a room for a couple hours a week and telling them not to have sex fails to overcome the social conditioning implicit in coed public education, titillating public entertainment, etc. True abstinence education would involve disciplining students who violate canons of chastity. Talking to them isn't going to cut it. So of course the abstinence money is wasted.

    Second, let's apply some political realism to the question. The culture in Washington is such that every problem must have a federal solution, ie, spend money from the federal treasury. Anyone whose proposed solution involves federal *non*-involvement has forfeited credibility.

    In this context, when the "comprehensive sex ed" people come up with their "solution" - spend money on our program - anyone who wants to oppose this must come up with a counterproposal to spend money on *another* program. See what happens if you just say, "no more federal spending on sex ed!" You'll get ignored or marginalized. Thus, the origin of "abstinence education."

    The WaPo, of course, is not trying to get rid of federally-funded sex ed. They want to promote funding for their favorit program - "comprehensive" sex ed. How has comprehensive sex ed worked? Yeah, it worked like a charm!

    As for kids using contraception - yeah, I'm sure their sex ed teachers will try to take the credit for that. But I'm skeptical.

  • Mike Laursen||

    I found that belonging to Math Club was an effective deterrent to teenage sex.

  • Fluffy||

    "The more relvant question is about the number of women (or men) who had premarital sex with someone *other than the person they ultimately married.*"

    Why is that the more relevant question?

  • thoreau||

    Ron, you forgot to add that you don't own stock in any company selling sex education textbooks.

    :)

    But, in regard to the $176 million spent on abstinence-only programs, I suspect that the program has actually been incredibly successful in achieving its goals. How much you wanna bet that a lot of that money went to textbook authors, consultants, various developers of "educational materials", and other people with powerful friends in the Religious Right?

    If viewed as a way of rewarding cronies, then this program has been a smashing success. How else to explain the Religious Right's fanatical devotion to the Pharisees of the Bush administration?

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    More relevant or not, it's an interesting question. My guess is that many previously celibate women in earlier generations did consider engagement a sufficient commitment to have sex. Then again, no doubt many premarital pregnancies were the direct cause of marriage. So who knows? And how would you ever go about figuring out which was which?

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    thoreau:

    No argument with your supposition, but let's not suggest even by omission that this makes the Bush administration any different from its predecessors. Head Start springs to mind here, but finding failed federal programs that political supporters profit from isn't exactly the hardest thing to do.

    Oh, and I'm more suspicious of Mr. Bailey not denying any vast holdings in contraceptive companies. Could it be, given such omission, that his writing on this subject is something of a Trojan Horse?

  • thoreau||

    Agreed, DAR.

  • ||

    Mad Max

    You make the start of a good point about coed education. Sometimes I wonder whether religious conservatives could stomach sex-segregated schools, knowing that with no girls around, their horny teenage boys would certainly not be knocking up girls, but they might be diddling each other. (And of course, girls in all-girls' schools would be going lessie, as they naturally do.) If I were a religious conservative, I ask myself, which would I prefer, assuming I could not avoid one or the other? Since I'm more practically-minded, I think I might prefer my son have a teenage affair with another teenage boy, than get some girl pregnant. Fortunately, I have no kids, so I don't have to worry.

    I should mention, though, that the real problem with these weak abstinence programs is that they do not involve the use of hoses and sticks, nor do they beat into kids' heads that all teenage boys are liars and jackasses, and all teenage girls are whores.

  • ||

    So no matter what you say to teens they will end up being relatively similar in their stupidity and impulsiveness?

    As the father of an 11 year-old girl, I am not glad to hear this.

  • ||

    The figures on premarital sex are designed to convey a specific message: "Women were having as much premarital sex in the 1950s as they were today, and what's good enough for the 1950s is good enough for our modern era!" A curious argument for a progressive type to make - holding up the past as a model for the present - but never mind that for now.

    The relevance is that, if it turns out that a greater proportion of the premarital sex back then was with future spouses, then that changes the picture the progressives are trying to paint. The norm the progressives are advocating is that it's time we got over the quaint superstitution of linking sex with marriage. So if it turns out that the humping back in the 1950s involved a lot of future spouses, not *Sex and the City* stuff, then the comparison loses much of its rhetorical force.

    Both birth-control and abortion have become more widely available, and socially acceptable since the benighted 1950s, a scenario which progressives used to predict would cut down on the number of out-of-wedlock births. This has not happened. How to explain the "paradox"? Possibly there's a greater rate of people having sex with partners they have no intention of marrying, even if pregnancy results.

  • Thrall||

    Ugh. Just get rid of federal public schools.

    By the way..humans evolved to do two functions..to have sex and to eat as much as possible. To deny either of those is stupid.

    We invented condoms and the pill to prevent unwanted pregnancies from the human desire to have sex. Religion is all about denying human nature because it is impure and god is above us.

    To me, sex is not as "vice". The human body is great, and to me the womans body is especially great. There is nothing wrong with looking at the opposite sex, or your own sex and getting aroused. It's nature, don't deny it.

    The whole idea that we were animals before we got a soul and now we don't reproduce because of the soul is stupid.

  • ||

    mk

    Come on. You were a teen once. We were all stupid then.

    I, for instance, was immortal, omniscient, and infinitely wise! And I continued to be so until I got my first real job around age 23, and my boss taught me otherwise.

    These days, although I never called him that when I was a teen, I refer to my 71-year-old father as "sir."

  • ||

    Please, Coach, no more cold showers.

  • ||

    Damn! I am so glad I have no kids! I really don't think I could handle it. I can't decide whether my greater nightmare is to have half a dozen sons, or half a dozen daughters.

  • ||

    Even if the school stayed coed, the administrators could at least decide to treat an unchaste student *at least* as harshly as a student who wore a Confederate battle flag T-shirt. That in itself would have more educational value than any number of "abstinence classes."

    Ultimately, this goes (as do many issues) to the root issue of public schooling (I originally typed "pubic schooling"). There's no more reason to have a government-operated school than a government-operated church.

  • Fluffy||

    Max, that doesn't make any sense, unless you theorize that the people in the 40's and 50's were able to foretell the future like gypsy psychics or something.

    If you have sex with a person you're not married to, it's premarital sex. Period. You can't KNOW that the person you're fucking will eventually be your spouse - you can suspect it, but not know it. That means that at the moment you're having the sex, you're having it with a person you may or may not marry - the same as everyone else having premarital sex.

    The distinction you're trying to draw arises from the bad consciences of people who had sex before marriage, but don't want their kids to do so - so they improvise a way that their premarital sex "didn't count".

  • ||

    jimmy smith...

    so...you tok cold showers with your coach, huh?

  • ||

    took

  • MJ||

    "Why is that the more relevant question?"

    If teens in the good ole days were having premarital sex in committed relationships that eventually soldified into marriages, then negative consequences: children out of wedlock, VD were mitigated as opposed to people who may today treating sex as a casual pasttime.

    "Neither does it increase or decrease the likelihood that if they do have sex, they will use a condom."

    Does not that suggest that "comprehensive" sex ed has little effect as well?

  • ||

    Thrall,

    The position you refute (the body is impure, only the soul or spirit is pure) is known as mind-body dualism. You will be glad to know that the Catholic Church denounced such heresies from the very beginning, and even declared a Crusade against the followers of one such heresy (Albigensian Crusade).

    Despite, or I should say *because of,* its respect for the human body as a divine creation, the Church opposes the abuse thereof by overeating (gluttony) or extramarital sex and like misconduct (lust).

    [clever punch line to be added later]

  • ||

    So I guess the question is mainly for parents of teenage children: do you want your unmarried children to have sex, and if not, why not?

    If you don't, what are you going to do to stop them? Abstinence programs evidently don't work all that well. Same-sex schools work well-enough, but are you willing to turn a blind eye to situational homosexuality? (I went to an all boys' school myself; trust me, it might not have been a gay pervert's fantasy, but there were a lot of mutual j/o's between guys who later grew up to be straight arrows.). Have them castrated? Chastity belts? Watch them every minute? Or maybe sit them down, tell them everything, and buy them condoms?

    Really, parents, it's your responsibility, whatever you decide. Please just stop asking me, a taxpayer, to fund your refusal to do your job.

    (When I become a parent within a few months, I will, of course, take an entirely different view...:) )

  • ||

    I don't know if ex-Senator Robert Packwood (R-Oregon) qualifies as a "gypsy fortune teller," but he used to be a prominent liberal Republican (until his "hands-on" method of constituent service got him into trouble). He is an example of progressives touting contraception and abortion, not just as a solution to unwed births, but to the "overpopulation" problem.

    In 1970, Packwood proposed three bills to limit the American population. One bill reduced child tax credits. Another bill provided for widespread contraceptive information. Another bill urged liberalization of the abortion laws, with Congress setting an example in the District of Columbia (Eva R. Rubin, ed., *The Abortion Controversy: A Documentary History,* Greenwood Press, 1994, 72-75).

    Packwood made clear that his proposals were designed to limit the population:

    "But at some stage, even the United States is finite. At some point we will reach a limit where we cannot handle, we cannot feed, we cannot house all the people who can be born in this country.

    "I would rather that we face that problem now, and start to undertake a policy of national populartion restraint whereby we can look forward to limiting the population of this countryy by voluntary means, so that we do not have to, in 30, 40, or 50 years, look forward to limiting it by compulsory means."

  • ||

    So in sum: The liberal regime in abortion and contraception has been established. The promised reduction in teenage births (or births in general) didn't materialize. What's the reason? How have the birth-restricting results of contraception and abortion been cancelled out? Presumably, by more extramarital sex where the parties don't intend to get married.

  • Fluffy||

    The justification for contraception rights and abortion rights isn't a promised improvement in aggregate statistics.

    As a matter of fact, aggregate statistics are irrelevant.

    The only question that matters is whether the state can justly declare contraception to be contraband for ME, PERSONALLY, AS AN INDIVIDUAL. Teen pregancy rates could jump to 99% and it wouldn't mean a thing. The only important question is whether you, Mad Max, singly or in combination with other citizens, have the moral authority to tell me not to have sex with another consenting adult, or have the moral authority to tell me that I can't put a piece of plastic on my dick when I do. You don't. It's that simple.

    And if we tried completely eliminating state support for children born out of wedlock, and also changed the civil law to make it impossible to gain child support for a child born out of wedlock, something tells me the "problem" we have with children born out of wedlock would go away.

    And I don't particularly care what Bob Packwood's reasons were for anything, on any subject.

  • ||

    "Albionite "

    Well, he had to watch, to make sure everyone did take a shower. After all, it was part of the grade.

  • ||

    Jimmy smith

    funny...no, not scary...those of us who had normal school experiences know better.

    but, erm, why my name in scary quotes? I promise, I'm not your coach!

  • Ryan||

    Evidence does not matter to Salafi Christians. To them it is about "having faith." In other words, accepting dogma without evidence.

  • ||

    Mrs. bro ben and I have teens, a son and a daughter. We preach abstinence to them for several reasons. Having been a serious horn-dog as a young man, I am aware what my daughter is up against and we have tried to explain it to her without creepin her out too much.
    however
    We have also helped them to understand the risks of unprotected sex. They both speak openly about their "love" lifes and they know they can come to us for birth control without fear. We would prefer them to be abstinent, but arent naive enough to demand it of them.
    So far , so good.

    Albionite, the older I get , the smarter my parents are.

  • ||

    "The only important question is whether you, Mad Max, singly or in combination with other citizens, have the moral authority to tell me not to have sex with another consenting adult, or have the moral authority to tell me that I can't put a piece of plastic on my dick when I do. You don't."

    Then it's probably just as well that I didn't "tell" you anything of the sort, that is, never threatened you with fines or imprisonment for consensual-adult-in-private activities.

    "And if we tried completely eliminating state support for children born out of wedlock, and also changed the civil law to make it impossible to gain child support for a child born out of wedlock, something tells me the 'problem' we have with children born out of wedlock would go away."

    I agree that this could have very salutary results. There will always be out-of-wedlock births, but maybe not so many if they're not subsidized by the taxpayer or the putative father.

  • ||

    1. Because I never pass up a chance to discuss my sons' extraordinary cuteness, last night at dinner my eight-year-old wanted to discuss 'girl problems.' Seems a girl in his class whom he likes but doesn't LIKE has a crush on him. He later said he'd have to talk to his classmate Jake, who at age nine, "has a lot more experience with women."

    2. I have no idea how to do anything about it, but I strongly believe that no one of high school age is ready to have sex and I really, really, really, really want to discourage my sons from it before they're about 21. After that, I just don't want to know. (I also want to emphasize to them that having sex with a random stranger just because you're horny, drunk, and want to brag to your buddies is asinine and obnoxious, but that's for a different thread.) That said, abstinence ed. seems to be an astonishing waste of money. None of the curricula I've seen makes any points worth mentioning, and they rely on sadistic or just gross projects to do it. (Someone tries that tape thing on Andy or Aaron and she'll be in court in a heartbeat.) Honestly, I should be sympathetic to the abstinence crowd but I'm mostly irritated.

  • ||

    brotherben, would you consider writing a sex ed book? That's the sanest thing I've read on the subject in ages.

  • Virginia||

    Am I the only person who finds a study (the Guttmacher one Ron links to, not the Waxman one that the article is about) purporting to show that 99% of people have sex, and 95-97% do it before marriage, a little tough to take seriously? I mean, is there any voluntary activity, other than perhaps eating, that 99% of people engage in?

  • ||

    Fluffy, we tried what you're suggesting way back in the Victorian period. Result: if an unmarried woman got pregnant (due to fooling around, rape, etc.) she would get kicked out of society (with kid) to fend for herself. Result: a lot of kids and women in acute poverty, no support system, a lot of early deaths. Not that great a way to reproduce the next generation.

    Putting all the onus on the woman doesn't seem very fair, does it? Especially if the guy can walk away with no consequences.

    Ditto for those who want schools to black-ball "unchaste" students. Same double-standard: the pregnant teenager gets the booing and the hissing and the boy who got her pregnant walks away and brags about it. We've had too many cases like that already. And if you guys can think of a way where the guys fooling around get stomped on as hard as the girls, good luck implementing it.

  • ||

    Well Ron, abstinence education programs have still produced as many positive results as embryonic stem cell research.

    How 'bout we don't fund either one of them with federal money?

  • ||

    "And if you guys can think of a way where the guys fooling around get stomped on as hard as the girls, good luck implementing it."

    Since the Victorian era, they discovered a thing called DNA. There's also *adoption,* which (I think) existed in the Victorian era, too.

    I have no brief for the Victorians, but the Victorian era in England and America was closer to the libertarian paradigm than some H&R folks seem to acknowledge. There was more insistence on personal responsibility and less insistence of having the government clean up people's messes. There was also a strong civil society and, yes, those who violated moral standards were not treated very nicely by civil society. But some sort of civil society would seem to be necessary in a libertarian community to take over what would otherwise end up as government responsibilities.

  • ||

    Another point about Victorian-era America (not so much England): If you [bleep]ed up your life, you could move to another community where people didn't know you, and make a fresh start. Since there wasn't any national ID system, you could basically re-invent yourself in a new community without getting hassled by a whole lot of drama from your previous community.

  • ||

    Karen,

    I have no idea how to do anything about it, but I strongly believe that no one of high school age is ready to have sex...

    I would probably agree with you if you said "most kids of high school age..." but it seems to me that there actually are some solid, smart 17 or 18-year-olds out there who are well aware of all the physical and emotional ramifications of sex and act accordingly and responsibly. Not "most" by any means, but certainly some.

    The human body is physically ready (and often aching) for sex in the teen years, so it seems to me it's really all about education and emotional maturity (which has, I think, mostly everything to do with the relationship a teen has had with his/her parents).

  • ||

    And in a related story, from The Onion:

    "Teen Sex Linked To Drugs And Alcohol, Reports Center For Figuring Out Really Obvious Things"

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/38603

    -jcr

  • ||

    "it seems to me that there actually are some solid, smart 17 or 18-year-olds out there who are well aware of all the physical and emotional ramifications of sex and act accordingly and responsibly."

    If they're *that* responsible, they should marry the object of their affection.

    Who, exactly, is aware of *all* the physical and emotional ramifications of sex? There are people in their 50s who haven't figured it out yet (see Wolfowitz, Paul).

  • ||

    Mad Max, that's a double-edged sword. In Victorian England people were generally much more suspicious of "outsiders" than we are now, so it's not like you could just pick up and start a new life with no consequences.

  • ||

    "brotherben, would you consider writing a sex ed book?"

    Karen, I mentioned this to mrs. bro ben. She said, "great idea! Maybe we can get Al Sharpton to write about the ethics of christianity while we're at it."

  • ||

    If they're *that* responsible, they should marry the object of their affection.

    Why is it necessary to marry someone to have responsible sex? Isn't it asking a bit much for a teenager to swear lifelong loyalty to someone just in order to have sex with them?

  • ||

    Who, exactly, is aware of *all* the physical and emotional ramifications of sex? There are people in their 50s who haven't figured it out yet (see Wolfowitz, Paul).

    It's easy to know all of the physical ramifications. Knowing the emotional ones have to do with the degree of honesty and communication between the people having sex.

    Wolfowitz is a good example why government employees should be abstinent until marriage.

  • ||

    Crimethink,

    Actually, I specifically *excluded* England from my analysis, because it is (or was at the time) a more static society than America. Go USA!

    Les,

    "Why is it necessary to marry someone to have responsible sex? Isn't it asking a bit much for a teenager to swear lifelong loyalty to someone just in order to have sex with them?"

    The term "just" is telling.

  • ||

    brotherben

    I have a feeling that I will be crawling toward my father (who, 20 years ago, was "that ignorant bastard") in a few years, begging for advice. I have this strange feeling he'll demand that I send the kids away for a few weeks in the summer to "go fishing with grandpa."

    I seem to remember having to go to my grandpa's lake house many years ago. I think I hated it at first (no TV).

    The older I get, the more I realize that grandparents are the last resort of civilization. God, I can't wait to be "Grandpa."!

  • ||

    "Why is it necessary to marry someone to have responsible sex?"

    That question reminds me of Frank Meyer's critique of libertarianism or, as he called it, "Libertinism." Your typical libertarian is left cold by any suggestion that a tradition dating back thousands of years has any kind of presumptive validity.

    If something has presumptive validity, it can still be proven false, but the burden of coming up with evidence is on the one who says it's false. The arguments against slavery - a tradition frequently cited by libertarians - are an example of how to overcome the presumption of validity.

    In other words, the burden is not on me to show why several thousand years of tradition are right; the burden is on those who think several thousand years' worth of tradition are wrong. Rote recitals of phrases like "slavery was a tradition" won't cut it.

  • ||

    The term "just" is telling.

    Okay, but you didn't answer my question. Why is it necessary to marry someone to have responsible sex?

    It seems that sex, for you, is something only to be shared with someone you love enough to marry. That's great for you. But that doesn't mean it's the way everyone should feel about it. Many fine, upstanding people have had casual sex responsibly and with positive results.

  • ||

    Les,

    As I mentioned above, I don't think you have formulated the question correctly. *I* don't have the burden of *proving* that thousands of years of tradition are right; you have the responsibility of showing that thousands of years of tradition are wrong. Thousands of years of tradition associate responsible sex with marriage. Why was every generation prior to ours wrong?

  • ||

    Obligatory libertarian disclaimer: I am not endorsing punishing adults with imprisonment or criminal fines for consensual activities carried out in private, except in extraordinary circumstances not applicable in this context (AIDS, etc).

  • ||

    Ah! You did answer my question! Sorry!

    Anyway.

    I think it's mistaken for you to assume that people haven't been having responsible, casual sex for as long as there have been people.

    In other words, the burden is not on me to show why several thousand years of tradition are right; the burden is on those who think several thousand years' worth of tradition are wrong.

    I disagree. There is no requirement to demonstrate why I should decide what to do with my body with another consenting adult, regardless of what tradition dictates.

    Personally, I reject the tradition of abstinence before marriage for a few reasons. It's unnatural, first and foremost. It was and is based on arbitrary and usually religious dogma. It entails (still) an unequal treatment of the sexes and includes outright cruelty towards women who feel like they own their bodies enough to decide who they're going to have sex with, and under what circumstances.

    I would never argue that someone who decides to wait until marriage to have sex shouldn't do so. Everyone should be free to do with their bodies what they want.

  • Jeff||

    This is all giving me a raging clue.

  • ||

    What would really help with the teen sex problem would be a federal Masturbation Education Program. Furthermore, I volunteer my services as the Wanking Czar.

  • ||

    Why was every generation prior to ours wrong?

    Partly, because an integral element to the tradition was a frightened ignorance and an inevitable hypocrisy that comes with putting value judgements on neutral, natural acts.

  • ||

    "responsible, casual sex"

    Is that like "military intelligence"?

    "[Abstinence before marriage is] unnatural, first and foremost."

    Unnatural, like sodomy? Careful, you might get your Libertarian Purity Certification (TM) yanked! I assure you that can be very painful.

    "arbitrary and usually religious dogma"

    I think that every belief system has its dogmas (the dogma of sexual liberation, for example). Isn't it interesting, though, that every previous major civilization, despite differences in religion (including China, where the elite followed nontheistic Confucianism and, later, Communism, both of which are non-"religious," or at least non-theistic philosophies) has associated sex with marriage?

  • ||

    The problem is anything that brings any sort of temporary joy or happiness is dangerous and taboo. SEX, DRUGS, TOBBACCO, "JUNK" FOOD ect.

  • ||

    December 2nd, 2004?!? Who blogs about a 2 1/2 year old newspaper article? Spending some time in your personal Wayback machine, Ron?

  • ||

    Mad Max,

    First could you explain how exactly premarital sex cannot be responsible?

    Second, polygamy and cousin-marriage have been (and are still in many places) more common than monogamous, non-incestuous relationships throughout history. Are you saying we should cling to those traditions too?

    In the past, marriage served a social function that it really no longer does for much of the world. Also, marriage has historically been unavailable for many due to their social status. And for those it has been available, the men were often free to do what (and whom) they wished while the woman was tied to the home.

    Like Les, I'm all for people using their bodies as they choose, and picking whether/when/whom to marry based on their own beliefs., but traditions do change with the times.

  • ||

    "'Why was every generation prior to ours wrong?'

    "Partly, because an integral element to the tradition was a frightened ignorance and an inevitable hypocrisy that comes with putting value judgements on neutral, natural acts."

    You don't have to go as far as Jeremy Lott, and defend hypocrisy

    http://tinyurl.com/235vqh

    in order to be skeptica of the hypocrisy argument. The question is whether this generation has a special immunity from hypocrisy. I think not. Nor does the present generation have any special exemption from ignorance.

  • ||

    "Second, polygamy and cousin-marriage have been (and are still in many places) more common than monogamous, non-incestuous relationships throughout history. Are you saying we should cling to those traditions too?"

    What do you mean "we"? Is America one of the cultures where polygamy and cousin-marriage are accepted? If not, then since our traditions don't include such practices, they don't have any presumptive validity.

    For those cultures where such practices *are* traditional, then those who would abolish such practices have the burden of proof. I happen to think that the monogamists would be able to meet their burden of proof, but since I'm not in those cultures, I don't feel an urgent need to assist reformers there. Maybe if the reformers ask for my help I could think more on this issue, but the reformers haven't asked for my help.

    I'm afraid the citation of polygamy cuts *against* the argument for extramarital sex. If we are to follow the example of polygamous cultures, then those who want to have sex with multiple partners must marry those partners first. I doubt very much that the cheerleaders of extramarital sex want to endorse polygamy, not least because the feminist establishment believes (correctly, by the way) that polygamy isn't particularly respectful of women.

  • ||

    Unnatural, like sodomy? Careful, you might get your Libertarian Purity Certification (TM) yanked! I assure you that can be very painful.

    Good point. Sodomy, like organized sports, are a good kind of "unnatural," in my opinion.

    I think that every belief system has its dogmas (the dogma of sexual liberation, for example).

    But sexual liberation doesn't condemn as inferior those who choose abstinence. Sexual liberation is about freedom of choice. The tradition of abstinence until marriage has always been about no freedom of choice and the condemnation of those who choose sex outside of marriage.

    Isn't it interesting, though, that every previous major civilization, despite differences in religion (including China, where the elite followed nontheistic Confucianism and, later, Communism, both of which are non-"religious," or at least non-theistic philosophies) has associated sex with marriage?

    Well it's understandable. When you want to control a large group of people, you decrease their choices and individuality while baselessly pretending that deviating from the accepted norm is dangerous. But all of the cultures you mention qualify as "dogmatic."

    Again, regardless of the traditions, the documented, inarguable fact is that people have been having sex outside of marriage forever. All the traditions they lived among merely forced them to do it in great secrecy and in greater ignorance of the ramifications.

  • ||

    I'm not entirely clear on why you took my "we" to mean "America". Were you saying the tradition of marriage goes back thousands of years in the United States? Apologies for my misunderstanding.

    Anyway, polygamy does have a tradition in the west, just not for many many hundreds of years. It was common in Russia until the time of Peter the Great. Again, in these cultures (as in old Mormon) culture polygamy (like monogamous marriage until recently) was only an option available to those of certain wealth or status.And there is a much more recent and strong tradition of cousin marriage in both western and American societies.

    I'm pretty sure reformers in those cultures focus more on political rights and that sort of thing. I'm not aware of any mass movements against polygamy (other than slippery-slope arguments here against gay marriage).

    Again, I'm not opposed to marriage or monogamy (in or outside of marriage), but I don't feel that people should be compelled to act a certain way, especially in such important matters all for the sake of "tradition" (and only some traditions, but not others, since people in the past didn't always know better, except when they apparently did).

  • ||

    The question is whether this generation has a special immunity from hypocrisy. I think not. Nor does the present generation have any special exemption from ignorance.

    I agree with you, but the present generation does have is a much greater access to information (a potential for less ignorance) and much less fear of ostracization for sexual choices they make. It is fairly well documented that kids today know a lot more about sex than kids of previous generations, though it is interesting that here in the U.S. the rate of teen pregnancy is much higher than European countries where teens have just as much sex, but more information.

  • ||

    "When you want to control a large group of people, you decrease their choices and individuality while baselessly pretending that deviating from the accepted norm is dangerous."

    Really? Doesn't the governments of Europe, and their socialist and quasi-socialist governing classes, want to control a large group of people? Then why don't the socialists and their fellow-travellers in Europe encourage traditional marriage, instead of enthusiastically promoting alternative family arrangements?

    Why does the hard-core left in this country seek simultaneously to undermine traditional family arrangements and to increase government power over the individual?

    Why do the crypto-socialists who run the public schools want to operate independently of the wishes of parents concerning the kind of propaganda to be pumped into the children?

    Could it be that, for those who support full-on government power, traditional family arrangements are actually an *obstacle*? Traditional family loyalties can impede acceptance of the government's policies. Is it purely an accident, then, that supporters of ambitious government projects often want to undermine the traditional family, when such underming *just happens* to break down one of the barriers between the individual and tyranny?

  • jgray||

    Christianity may not be so canny
    but some forms of Shia Islam have
    a 'defined benefit, mutually
    consenting, limited fixed duration
    marriage' so you can get married for, say, a week, fuck all you want, then go back to
    being single, no strings attached. Sweet!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikah_Mut'ah

  • jgray||

  • ||

    jgray,

    Those temporary marriages aren't worth Shi'ite.

  • ||

    Les, I should have put "most." Please consider the origingal post amended.

  • jgray||

    Quite so Mad Max
    But thats the point yes?
    And it is a great workaround
    for all those horny young people
    to technically avoid 'pre-marital'
    sex (the turban are very clever: don't
    know why they need this though, with 4 wives)
    But extra-marital sex is quite painful
    if caught in Sharia Law!

    wiki: Islam + extramarital SEX

  • jgray||

    the turban are

    *the Turban-headed are*

  • ||

    Really? Doesn't the governments of Europe, and their socialist and quasi-socialist governing classes, want to control a large group of people? Then why don't the socialists and their fellow-travellers in Europe encourage traditional marriage, instead of enthusiastically promoting alternative family arrangements?

    Maybe because they realize that traditional marriage did little to discourage out of marriage sex while it did much to encourage ignorant sex, putting a larger burden on society with STD's and unwanted pregnancies.

    Why does the hard-core left in this country seek simultaneously to undermine traditional family arrangements and to increase government power over the individual?

    The hard-core left in this country want to increase government power over the individual not one bit less than the hard-core right. And there is zero evidence to support the notion that when individuals reject traditional family arrangements, they make it harder for individuals to embrace traditional family arrangements. In fact, it's inarguable that traditionalists work much harder to prevent individuals to form non-traditional family arrangements (even to the point of keeping children in orphanages rather than in loving families they don't approve of), than the opposite occurs.

    Why do the crypto-socialists who run the public schools want to operate independently of the wishes of parents concerning the kind of propaganda to be pumped into the children?

    That's a natural by-product of state-run education. Those who choose to utilize it should be aware of it.

    Could it be that, for those who support full-on government power, traditional family arrangements are actually an *obstacle*?

    Those who work to use the government to prevent individuals from forming non-traditional families (that is, the hard-core right) are in favor of full-on government power over the individuals involved in these personal, private decisions.

    Traditional family loyalties can impede acceptance of the government's policies. Is it purely an accident, then, that supporters of ambitious government projects often want to undermine the traditional family, when such underming *just happens* to break down one of the barriers between the individual and tyranny?

    There is no evidence that traditional family loyalties are stronger than non-traditional family loyalties. Again, you seem to be forgetting that those striving to prevent non-traditional families are for using increased government powers to impose their values over individuals who make choices they don't agree with. So it would seem your theory has a mighty flaw. In the case of sex and marriage, the right is every bit a force for socialism as the left.

  • jgray||

    Les-
    i thought Mad Max was for marriage or 'traditional family structures.' therefore you've shown that...he's unwittingly in bed w/
    the governments of Europe
    the hard-core left
    the crypto-socialists
    who in their quest to alienate the individual
    and take over the world denigrate and degrade marriage and traditional family structures?
    i dont think MM was advocating government sponsored marriage or collectivist policies of any kind. We all know the hard-right is evil, but that has not much to do with the supposed cultural benefits and collected societal wisdom assumed to be inherent to marriage arrangements (and how people who dont view marriage as the only proper venue for sex must repudiate the tradition/disprove the goodness of marriage before engaging in said fornication.)
    western civilization is in peril. so why is your ring finger empty?

  • ||

    jgray,

    I brought up the right because Max was implying that the left was more a force for socialism than the right, which I just don't think is the case.

  • ||

    "In other words, the burden is not on me to show why several thousand years of tradition are right; the burden is on those who think several thousand years' worth of tradition are wrong. Rote recitals of phrases like "slavery was a tradition" won't cut it."

    Mad Max, why do they call prostitution the world's oldest profession?

    Just because the majority of women were expected to have sex within the confines of matrimony doesn't mean that expectation held for men.

    Also, the concept of marrying for love is a fairly recent one. Historically marriage was more of a business relationship and a way of ensuring the legitimacy of offspring than anything else. Arranged marriages are still the most common type in most of the world and they weren't that unheard of in the western world until not that long ago.

    If it's wrong to have sex with someone you actually like without being married, then it seems really wrong to have sex with someone you barely know just because it suits your family's interests. But I guess thousands of years of tradition make me wrong in saying that.

  • ||

    Instead of speaking in vague terms of alternative "family structures," let's look at what kind of "alternatives" have actually arisen in practice, and see if these alternative structures create an atmosphere for greater state power. I think they do.

    One form of alternative family is the divorced family, which we owe to the divorce laws which, already fairly liberal, got even more liberal in the 1960s and 1970s. What a libertarian utopia *that* turned out to be! Husbands and wives invoking the power of the courts (the state) to make intimate family decisions about raising kids, property division, etc. This libertarian reform was so successful that the blessings thereof are being extended to unmarried and/or gay couples.

    Another "alternative" arrangement which gets much promotion from the progressives is the single-mother-headed household. Even the left (except its wackier elements) acknowledges that this is a less-than-ideal situation. Single mother households tend to lead for demands for "poverty programs," (you know, welfare, subsidized day care, etc), because there seems to be more poverty among such households than among married-parent households.

    Thus, increasing the number of divorced families and the number of single-mother households tends to increase the demand, and the constituency, for Big Government.

    Yes, some people on the right want to use various coercive measures (some of them excessive) to avoid these consequences. You can criticize the excessive *means* they advocate to preserve the traditional family without sneering at the *ends.*

  • ||

    pepe,

    Why should the definition of marriage, and its sanctity, change because of changes in the *motivations* for marriage? People who marry for love and people who marry for money/status/power should have the same protections, and the definition should not be modified based on the motivation. This is simply irrelevant to the question of what marriage means and whether sex should be outside of it.

  • ||

    "Just because the majority of women were expected to have sex within the confines of matrimony doesn't mean that expectation held for men."

    If only there had been some institution which tried to eliminate the double standard of sexual conduct, at least in Europe and in places touched by European influence, by (a) getting rid of laws which allowed men but not women to get divorced and (b) insisting publicly and repeatedly that chastity was expected of men as well as women.

    Such an institution, of course, would not have been able to completely eradicate lust and double standards from the hearts of men, but the institution could have at least held up a *single standard* which was normative for all. An institution of this kind could have pressed for the abolition of divorce, proclaimed the virtues of chastity and fidelity for men as well as for women, etc.

    Well, someone better get to work and establish such an institution, because I can't think of any examples in history of such an institution existing, can you?

  • ||

    Mad Max: "The more relvant question is about the number of women (or men) who had premarital sex with someone *other than the person they ultimately married.*"

    This is only relevant if it was important at all. It is not important because nothing good nor bad happened--because there is nothing wrong with premarital sex.

    "... who violate canons of chastity."

    The canons of chastity matter only if they are corresponding to reality, and they do not. Therefore, one should ignore the canons of chastity.

    "The culture in Washington is such that every problem must have a federal solution, ie, spend money from the federal treasury. Anyone whose proposed solution involves federal *non*-involvement has forfeited credibility."

    The alternative is to have sex education that is non-abstinence-only, meaning including contraception.

    "Both birth-control and abortion have become more widely available, and socially acceptable since the benighted 1950s, a scenario which progressives used to predict would cut down on the number of out-of-wedlock births. This has not happened. How to explain the [']paradox[']? Possibly there's a greater rate of people having sex with partners they have no intention of marrying, even if pregnancy results."

    This is important only if out-of-wedlock births were always a bad thing, and that is not true. If it were a bad thing, then there is abortion.

    "Even if the school stayed coed, the administrators could at least decide to treat an unchaste student *at least* as harshly as a student who wore a Confederate battle flag T-shirt."

    And how is that? That is merely de facto, not de juro. To institutionalize it legally would require actual punishment. This is very backwards and should not be done. If de facto, then the administrator does what he wants.

    "The liberal regime in abortion and contraception has been established. The promised reduction in teenage births (or births in general) didn't materialize. What's the reason?"

    The reason is abstinence-only education.

    "There was more insistence on personal responsibility and less insistence of having the government clean up people's messes. There was also a strong civil society and, yes, those who violated moral standards were not treated very nicely by civil society."

    Even so it does not mean that it is more good. Actually, it is more bad, because it lacks one quality: meritocracy. It does not treat people based upon a judgement of their merit, but rather based upon an inaccurate judgement of their merit (with the inaccuracy based upon prejudices).

    "If they're *that* responsible, they should marry the object of their affection."

    How is that so? Marriage may be impractical for some. You also fail to notice the fact that the marrying age is 18, not 13. You also misinterpreted that sentence: he/she meant that more intelligent people have less premarital sex.

    "In other words, the burden is not on me to show why several thousand years of tradition are right; the burden is on those who think several thousand years' worth of tradition are wrong."

    Marriage is not necessary for responsible sex, because marriage is merely some state-instituted legal thing. It makes no difference whatsoever whether people having sex are married or not, because marriage is merely a word or label. Consensual pre-marital sex of post-pubescent individuals does not cause physical damage, nor does it unconditinoally cause involuntary emotional damage, and marriage does not change anythign one jot.

    Albionite: "I should mention, though, that the real problem with these weak abstinence programs is that they do not involve the use of hoses and sticks, nor do they beat into kids' heads that all teenage boys are liars and jackasses, and all teenage girls are whores."

    If this is so, then the solution is worse than the "problem," becuase to ingrain such disinformation and lies is much worse than premarital sex.

    crimethink: "Well Ron, abstinence education programs have still produced as many positive results as embryonic stem cell research."

    These two said things are different in that the former is bad, and the latter is good. The former is bad because it (tries) to teach a statement that is false, "pre-marital sex is bad," and the latter is good because it can lead to greater ability to effect benevolent physical effects.

  • ||

    Truth:

    If you start with the assumption that there is nothing wrong with premarital sex, then your conclusions probably follow.

    "You also fail to notice the fact that the marrying age is 18, not 13."

    No, 18 is usually the age you can marry *without parental consent.* If you have parental consent, the marrying age is lower (while varying from state to state).

  • ||

    Mad Max: "One form of alternative family is the divorced family, which we owe to the divorce laws which, already fairly liberal, got even more liberal in the 1960s and 1970s. What a libertarian utopia *that* turned out to be! Husbands and wives invoking the power of the courts (the state) to make intimate family decisions about raising kids, property division, etc."

    You seem to imply that it actually is a bad thing. This is not a bad thing, because unhappy families sometimes are better split up.

    "Another [']alternative['] arrangement which gets much promotion from the progressives is the single-mother-headed household. Even the left (except its wackier elements) acknowledges that this is a less-than-ideal situation. Single mother households tend to lead for demands for [']poverty programs,['] (you know, welfare, subsidized day care, etc), because there seems to be more poverty among such households than among married-parent households."

    Marriage, however, does not automatically ensure that there shall be two parents, because one can simply move away if divorce is illegal.

    You also have missed a third alternative: The cohabitating household. The issue here is not whether the household has married persons or not, but rather just how many there are (two is better than one, of course).

    "Why should the definition of marriage, and its sanctity, change because of changes in the *motivations* for marriage? People who marry for love and people who marry for money/status/power should have the same protections, and the definition should not be modified based on the motivation. This is simply irrelevant to the question of what marriage means and whether sex should be outside of it."

    Actually, there is no definition for marriage, except for the legal one (which, of course, varies by location). Marriage is thus merely a legal (and sometimes social) construct, and has no intrinstic value.

    However, it seems to be true that "[t]his is simply irrelevant to the question of what marriage means and whether sex should be outside of it." The definition of marriage is irrelevant, since the lack thereof considers when it is non-existent, and everything is the same when they are non-existent.

    "If only there had been some institution which tried to eliminate the double standard of sexual conduct, at least in Europe and in places touched by European influence, by (a) getting rid of laws which allowed men but not women to get divorced and (b) insisting publicly and repeatedly that chastity was expected of men as well as women.

    Such an institution, of course, would not have been able to completely eradicate lust and double standards from the hearts of men, but the institution could have at least held up a *single standard* which was normative for all. An institution of this kind could have pressed for the abolition of divorce, proclaimed the virtues of chastity and fidelity for men as well as for women, etc.

    Well, someone better get to work and establish such an institution, because I can't think of any examples in history of such an institution existing, can you?"

    This is irrelevant, since this discussion is about what the standards should be, not about how they actually are.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    I think you could have simply stopped at Surprise--Teens Ignore Adults

    So is the point here that the government should get out of sex ed? Or is the point that it's okay for the government to butt into sex ed but it should never tell a kid not to have sex?

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Best birth control device ever is an aspirin held firmly between the knees by the female in question.

    Rimshot!

  • pepe||

    "Well, someone better get to work and establish such an institution, because I can't think of any examples in history of such an institution existing, can you?"

    The fact that organized religion has officially argued for monogamy for both men and women has absolutely nothing to do with my point. You say thousands of years of tradition of marriage dictate that sex outside of marriage is wrong or irresponsible. I point out that for thousands of years people have in fact routinely been having sex outside of marriage. In other words the tradition you speak of is a fallacy. The church may say one thing, but men have traditionally done another. Including many a pastor or priest. The many popes who fathered illegitimate children come to mind.

    That doesn't mean that you can't make a valid argument for why monogamy and traditional marriage is a good thing. But the argument that society has held it up as a good thing for centuries doesn't make it true. People used to think the sun revolved around the earth.

  • ||

    Mad Max: "If you start with the assumption that there is nothing wrong with premarital sex, then your conclusions probably follow."

    There is nothing wrong with premarital sex, because it does not violate anybody's right.

    There is also nothing bad with premarital sex, because it does not cause any harm (if both are post-pubescent).

    "No, 18 is usually the age you can marry *without parental consent.* If you have parental consent, the marrying age is lower (while varying from state to state)."

    Well, when you said "they should marry the object of their affection," for those under 18 that they needed parental consent, so that is not always a possibility.

    The Wine Commonsewer: "So is the point here that the government should get out of sex ed? Or is the point that it's okay for the government to butt into sex ed but it should never tell a kid not to have sex?"

    This is about the fact that government is failing on abstinence-only education. It does not report on what government should do, but what government is doing.

    pepe: "I point out that for thousands of years people have in fact routinely been having sex outside of marriage."

    You fail to prove what you wanted to, because the way things are, are not always the way things out to be. The question about whether premarital sex is immoral or moral is about the way things should be, not about the way things are.

  • ||

    Correction: In the second-to-last sentence, when I said "the way things out to be," I meant "the way things OUGHT tobe."

  • Pepe||

    "You fail to prove what you wanted to, because the way things are, are not always the way things out to be. The question about whether premarital sex is immoral or moral is about the way things should be, not about the way things are."

    I wasn't making a point about whether or not premarital sex is immoral or not. I was refuting Mad Max's argument that the thousands of years of marriage customs in western society placed the burden of proof on me to show why those customs are wrong. The fact that the official stance of the church was that premarital/extramarital sex is immoral didn't stop a sizable portion of the population to engage it anyway, including church leaders themselves. There is as much a tradition of not following these customs as there is in following them.

    If you want to have an argument about whether or not premarital sex is okay, it needs to be based on empirical evidence that premarital sex is necessarily harmful and that matrimonial sex is not. Saying that our society has always said it was so does not prove anything. Especially considering how many have said one thing and done another.

  • ||

    Abstinence until marriage was a perfectly sensible rule several hundred years ago. It is ludicrous now. Back then, people got married in their late teens. Expecting your fifteen year old daughter to wait another year is reasonable. Asking her to wait another DECADE, as would be realistic today, is clearly absurd. This is even more true now that we have both birth control and paternity tests.

    No one should be having sex before they are eighteen. Obviously, we cannot nor should not attempt to control this with law, and as for parents, how to achieve this goal is a difficult question. But telling kids to wait until they are in their late 20's to get laid only makes us look like both morons and hypocrites.

  • ||

    Mad Max keeps talking about this study being released by "progressives," or as part of a "progressive" political campaign.

    You got anything to back that up, big guy?

    Or are science and truth themselves now the exclusive realm of "progressives?"

  • ktc2||

    Joe,

    LOL. Yeah, and the "science" of ID and creationsim are the exclusive realm of the "conservatives".

  • ||

    "Well, when you said 'they should marry the object of their affection,' for those under 18 that they needed parental consent, so that is not always a possibility."

    The situation you posit is where a teenager is regarded by outside parties as being mature and responsible enough to have sex, but where the teenager's parents (or the parents of the teenager's would-be lover) won't agree to them getting married. In this sort of case, I'd defer to the parents, not to outside parties, about how mature and responsible the teenagers are (or maybe the parents approve premarital, but not marital, sex for their kids, either because they're afraid of alienating their kids or because they assume the premarital sex wouldn't be harmful).

    Obviously, it's quite right to say that the publicly-articulated norms about marriage (which, in Europe, the Church had a large role in forming) were often violated. I hear the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution is violated, too, but it's still a valid norm, and those who want to change the Bill of Rights have (yes) the burden of proving their case.

    It's true that church officials have violated the Church's own norms about chastity. Does this mean the norms they violated were wrong, or that they were wrong to violate the norms? I've heard of libertarians who violate libertarian norms against taking government support. I've heard of atheists who, despite their supposed commitment to human welfare, have killed millions of people. I've heard of science-fiction fans who bathe. OK, this is getting silly.

    "The many popes who fathered illegitimate children come to mind."

    No scare quotes around "illegitimate"?

  • jgray||

    Chad:
    No one should be having sex before they are eighteen...

    and to what authority do you appeal
    in this grand assertion?

  • ||

    Chad: "No one should be having sex before they are eighteen."

    This is false, because it does not cause physical harm (when both are post-pubescent), nor does it cause involuntary emotional harm, nor does it violate anybody's rights.

    Nothing physical automatically happens when one becomes eighteen. It does not suddenly change the facts (which already were) that sex does not cause physical harm (when both are post-pubescent), nor does it cause involuntary emotional harm, nor does it violate anybody's rights.

    It may be reasonable to suggest that it consumes too much time or energy or thought. However, the same may be said of televison.

    Mad Max: "Obviously, it's quite right to say that the publicly-articulated norms about marriage (which, in Europe, the Church had a large role in forming) were often violated. I hear the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution is violated, too, but it's still a valid norm, and those who want to change the Bill of Rights have (yes) the burden of proving their case."

    Your reasoning is sound when you say that a norm being violated does not automatically make it true that the norm is bad. However, when you put it that way, one only needs a reason for the thing which the restriction is against, not a reason why the restriction is inherently wrong. For example "because they want to" is reason enough. When the government proclaims, "I want to violate the Bill of Rights" that is reason enough. One then needs to find arguements saying that they ought not to do so if one thinks that they ought not do do so.

    Why should society let people violate the norm of marriage before sex? The answer: because they want to. It is then your burden of proof to prove that despite what they want, they shouldn't.

    Lincoln violated the Bill of Rights because he wanted to, because he wanted to save the union. Arguments that there should be discouragement/restrictions against it rests on the burden of the restricter.

  • ||

    joe,

    I've been on this blog for a long time, and only now do you put me in your sights?

    I'm not sure which study you're referring to, joe. Do you mean the study that shows the money spend on federal abstinence programs was wasted? I found that study fully believable. Relax, you are the only one to even suggest that these findings are open to doubt. I said no such thing.

    Are you referring to the Alan Guttmacher study about premarital sex among women being the same as in the 1950s? I didn't challenge that contention. It may be true, it may not be true. My only criticism of that study (or rather the *Reason* summary is that it wasn't informative enough - not enough *nuance,* to put it in terms you would understand.

    My discussion of "progressives" was to contend that such people (a) exist and (b) promote an attitude toward premarital sex which is (how shall I put this) different from the traditional attitude. If you want to deny *that,* then take it up with the Institute for Historical Review, which delights in denying the obvious.

    I am certainly sorry that I implicitly referred to that venerable scientific publication, the *Washington Post,* as "progressive." And I'm certainly sorry that I implied that the Alan Guttmacher institute was progressive. Of course, I should have said that it's a solidly conservative institution whose board is made up of zealous puritans who find the very sight of exposed skin appalling.

  • jgray||

    mad max
    you are quite the broken record with your 'marriage is the only right way to have sex and that is final, b/c marriage is hallowed tradition and presumptive norms do not have to be defended at all, all burden is on those who attack its validity'

    simply because marriage is a "publicly articulated norm" does not mean it is morally
    normative or obligatory. do not conflate cultural values with moral imperatives

  • ||

    Global Warming, "evil-ution," ozone depletion, and studies showing that thinking about JEEZ-us will magically make teenagers not have sex are all tools of the atheist/secularist/communist/moose-lim conspiracy controlled by Satan to turn America away from GAAWD!

    Didn't you get the memo?

  • ||

    That was last one was direct toward Joe regard MadMax paranoia about "progressives."

  • jgray||

    Akira

    I think I musta missed the memo where Satan reminds people to think about "JEEZ-us" so they'll be dissuaded from fucking.

  • ||

    Truth,

    Saying "because I want to" is enough to presumptively justify violating the Bill of Rights? Is that *your* position, or is it a position you are attributing to *me?* I certainly didn't say that - I said the opposite.

    Just to repeat what I've said before - those who want to change the Bill of Rights have the burden of proving their case, because the Bill of Rights is a norm in this country. Likewise, those who want to overturn the age-old norm against extramarital sex have the burden of showing why that norm should be abolished.

  • ||

    Mad Max,

    Why are you bringing up "progressives" at all? What is the point of shooting that particular label at these messengers?

  • ||

    Opps... Sorry, I'm off my game today. Let me rephrase that:

    Global Warming, "evil-ution," ozone depletion, and studies showing that thinking about JEEZ-us will NOT magically make teenagers not have sex before marriage are all tools of the atheist/secularist/communist/moose-lim conspiracy controlled by Satan to turn America away from GAAWD!

    Is that better?

  • ||

    I got the memo, Akira, but when it became apparant that it was written by a progressive, I just ignored it.

  • jgray||

    also i'm surprised Mad max hasn't explicitly stated his desultory argument that marriage is good because it helps counterbalance increases in state power at the expense of the individual which will have no refuge isolated by themselves with no built in group to depend upon

  • ||

    Why are you bringing up "progressives" at all? What is the point of shooting that particular label at these messengers?

    Because it fits into MMs world-view, joe. From what I've read, Max seems to be a pretty hard-core right winger, possible of the Christian Right variety. Anyone who is not for him is against him, and those who are against him are dubbed "progressives." (Whatever the fuck that means.)

  • jgray||

    Mad Max:

    How about if the MAJORITY of the people in this country and the West in general have 'premarital' sex, then a NEW NORM has been established! Since these are just 'community standards' norms, right? Like even if most people cheat somehow on their taxes, that would be a NORM even if everyone didn't actually know that most other people cheated too.

  • jgray||

    *one too many "even if's" in that last sentence

  • ||

    I got the memo, Akira, but when it became apparant that it was written by a progressive, I just ignored it.

    Fine! I'll just tell the Horned Goat God of Darkness that you don't have the time to turn mankind away from Jesus and spread hedonism and lust! It's tough enough that we can't agree on what toppings to put on the post-Black-Mass pizza (I want aborted fetus, Tracy wants extra nun eyeballs, and YOU want "Hawaiian Style."), but if you can't even take the time to read a simple one paragraph memo from Lucifer himself, then maybe you should find another coven!

    Turn in your pentagram decoder ring!

  • eric||

    did/has no one considered the evolutionary implausibility of human nature being such that reproductively-mature individuals could be easily talked out of reproducing?

  • ||

    If you want to deny *that,* then take it up with the Institute for Historical Review, which delights in denying the obvious.

    Godwin.

  • ||

    BTW, Washington state is dropping abstinence-only:

    http://www.komotv.com/news/local/6984337.html

  • ||

    "Saying "because I want to" is enough to presumptively justify violating the Bill of Rights? Is that *your* position, or is it a position you are attributing to *me?* I certainly didn't say that - I said the opposite."

    It does not justify changing the tradition, but it does justify violating and ignoring the tradition. It is correct that for those who want to change a tradition, one has the burden of proof. However, one does not have the burden of proof for justifying the breaking or ignoring of a tradition.

  • ||

    guys,

    I genuinely didn't know that the word "progressive" was offensive. I feel like Don Imus: I didn't know I was using a hate word. If "progressive" is an insult on the order of "nappy headed hos," then I'm really sorry for using such terminology. That's one memo I *didn't* get.

    By "progressive," I basically mean, "someone who thinks the way *I* used to think about moral issues, and who thinks the way some of my friends still think." So you see that I wasn't exactly considering it as a hate word.

    The term used to be "liberal," but (a) that's what libertarians used to be called, so it's confusing, and (b) "liberal" is supposed to be a hate word, too.

    Akira,

    "Global Warming, 'evil-ution,' ozone depletion, and studies showing that thinking about JEEZ-us will magically make teenagers not have sex are all tools of the atheist/secularist/communist/moose-lim conspiracy controlled by Satan to turn America away from GAAWD!"

    Goodness, I forgot that I believed all that - thank you for the timely reminder.

    Now let me return the favor and summarize *your* views:

    "Wake up, people! Jerry Falwell, Oral Robertson, Karl Rove, Bush, the Neocons and the Pope are in all in cahoots with Diebold to install Theocracy in America! The Catholic Church will sends its Albino Monk Assassins (TM) to kill the atheist leaders! Democrats and Independents will be arrested and shipped to Jesus Camp! Gay people will be forced to watch NASCAR and chew tobacco for days on end without sleep until they agree to act straight! The White House will relocate to the Vatican! Every public school will begin the day with a moment of silence!" OK, that last one was over the top.

    By the way, here's the ideas of a 19th century agnostic about marriage (scroll down to part V):

    http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/robert_ingersoll/how_to_reform_mankind.html

    The speaker, Robert Ingersoll, says women should have the right to obtain a divorce for any reason, but men should only be able to get a divorce for cause. In other words, Ingersoll wants more restrictive laws than most states have today. He also speaks eloquently about the virtues of marriage, while saying nothing about extramarital sex.

    jgray,

    "also i'm surprised Mad max hasn't explicitly stated his desultory argument that marriage is good because it helps counterbalance increases in state power at the expense of the individual which will have no refuge isolated by themselves with no built in group to depend upon"

    That's a good way to put it, actually. Maybe I will develop that some more later.

  • Bum- Bum-BumbleBeeTuna||

    Holy Christ People!
    GET SOME PRIORITIES!!!!!!!

    CELL PHONES ARE WIPING OUT OUR BEES

    It is the headline on Drudge

    the Feds should tell kids not to use cellphones
    or use drugs or sniff paint and stuff

  • ||

    Now let me return the favor and summarize *your* views...

    Unlike your *your* views regarding sex, *my* views about the conservative love and desire for theocracy are grounded in reality.

  • ||

    "Like even if most people cheat somehow on their taxes, that would be a NORM even if everyone didn't actually know that most other people cheated too."

    No, but if leaders and trend-setters (and would-be leaders and trendsetters) openly cheated on taxes and avoided any adverse consequences (prison, loss of elections, etc.), *that* might establish a norm, assuming the public followed the lead of the leaders and trendsetters. But if the tax-cheaters acted covertly and denied doing it, then it wouldn't be a norm - like the dead French guy said, "hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue."

    There's more acceptance of extramarital sex, I'll allow. Has it become a new norm yet? I would call it a norm if we had politicians and other leading figures shacking up without benefit of marriage, without suffering consequences.

    But not even Giulani and the Hollywood celebrities are doing that - once they ditch a previous spouse and take up with someone else, then they either get married or they face continued speculation on *when* they'll be married. (Of course, some avant-garde celebrities are opting out of marriage altogether). The most we can say, then, is that serial polygamy has become the new norm, not extramarital behavior.

  • ||

    Akira,

    I'm going way out on a limb here and guessing that religion is kind of a sensitive issue with you.

  • ||

    "Every public school will begin the day with a moment of silence!"
    Here in south Alabama, the city schools still open every school day with a prayer in the name of jesus, some good holy scripture from The Bible, and the announcements of the day.
    All done over the public address system.

    next silly proposal please.

  • ||

    I'm going way out on a limb here and guessing that religion is kind of a sensitive issue with you.

    And I'm going way out on a linb here and guess that anyone who doesn't bow, scrape, and cowtow to a mythological being (especially the one you mindlessly worship) is worth horse shit.

  • ||

    Here in south Alabama, the city schools still open every school day with a prayer in the name of jesus, some good holy scripture from The Bible, and the announcements of the day.
    All done over the public address system.


    ...And the administrators who keep this unconstitutional ritual going still have their jobs because...?

  • ||

    118 comments. Teen sex.

    Yep.

  • ||

    "...And the administrators who keep this unconstitutional ritual going still have their jobs because...?"

    It is the will of the community. Same reason we dont have strip clubs, or alcohol sales on Sunday, or gay rights parades, or Klan gatherings.

  • ||

    It is the will of the community.

  • ||

    It is the will of the community.

    Since when does the "will of the community" override the Establishment Clause?

  • ||

    The White House will relocate to the Vatican!

    Not during the Romney Administration it won't!

  • jgray||

    mad max

    i disagree that the visibility among what amount to celebrities of a behavior/belief constitutes its status as a norm. in any case, anecdotal evidence re: Bill Clinton getting head in the oval office by an intern not his lawfully wedded wife; there were no real 'consequences' for him. yes a politically motivated impeachment attempt, but his approval ratings barely took a hit and most americans had nothing but sympathy for him.

    "There's more acceptance of extramarital sex, I'll allow" I will now go out on a limb and wager you do not get out as much as you used to and you are quite possibly older than my parents. Sex is commonplace. 'Everyone's doing it' just maybe not in your cohort. In mine, the only Latin I hear outside of class references genitalia, and a majority of people have had sex by HS graduation. Most of them do not value marriage; divorces abound, and adultery is easy and fun.
    Anyhow, young people screw and they are proud of it and that will not change

  • ||

    "Here in south Alabama, the city schools still open every school day with a prayer in the name of jesus, some good holy scripture from The Bible, and the announcements of the day.
    All done over the public address system."

    I wasn't trying to deny that such things happened, I was parodying the attitude which sees moments of silence as a horror on the level of the Inquisition.

    I feel the pain of people who don't want a school paid for by their tax dollars and operated by their elected representatives to teach something they don't believe in. Like Madison or Jefferson or one of that crowd said, compelling a man to pay for the propogations of views he regards as wrong is sinful and tyrannical.

    There's only one way out of this situation, and that's to get the govt. out of the education business.

  • jgray||

    brotherben, let me congratulate you

    It is the will of the community...we dont have strip clubs, or alcohol sales on Sunday, or gay rights parades, or Klan gatherings

    your community must really be one fabulously homogeneous lot since there are no men, no drinkers, no homosexuals, and no racists, bigots, or anti-semites !(and no non-christians apparently since you all go to church)!

  • ||

    U.S. Supreme Court
    Everson vs. Board of Education TP

    "The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertain- [330 U.S. 1, 16] ing or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever from they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between Church and State.' Reynolds v. United States, supra, 98 U.S. at page 164"

    Nowhere does this say the people cant pray in the public school.

  • jgray||

    madmax- some good shiit from that Robert Ingersoll (though he's got too much of that turn-of-century 'we can save the world' progressiveness. this quote is solid

    We cannot rely upon legislative enactments to make people wise and good; neither can we expect to make human beings manly and womanly by keeping them out of temptation. Temptations are as thick as the leaves of the forest, and no one can be out of the reach of temptation unless he is dead. The great thing is to make people intelligent enough and strong enough, not to keep away from temptation, but to resist it. All the forces of civilization are in favor of morality and temperance. Little can be accomplished by law, because law, for the most part, about such things, is a destruction of personal liberty. Liberty cannot be sacrificed for the sake of temperance, for the sake of morality, or for the sake of anything. It is of more value than everything else. Yet some people would destroy the sun to prevent the growth of weeds.

    Robert Ingersoll Essay

  • ||

    "your community must really be one fabulously homogeneous lot since there are no men, no drinkers, no homosexuals, and no racists, bigots, or anti-semites !(and no non-christians apparently since you all go to church)!"
    So if our standards of behaviour differ from yours we must be the ones that are wrong?

    "I wasn't trying to deny that such things happened, I was parodying the attitude which sees moments of silence as a horror on the level of the Inquisition."
    Yes I think I am seeing what you mean.

  • ||

    jgray,

    I'm aware that the norm of sex within marriage is all but collapsed among huge swathes of the younger set. Not to mention huge swathes of the older set. I'm not as old as you think, and anyway I hear things.

    I am speaking of society as a whole, and whether it has *authoritatively repudiated* the norm against extramarital sex.

    The Clinton case actually helps my point - it shows the norm has not been abolished. If it had been, Clinton wouldn't have been impeached and tried because over some intern doing you-know-what. Clinton's defenders didn't say "adultery is cool!" They were mad at the Republican prosecutors, and didn't want the Repubs to score a victory over Clinton.

    Remember the aftermath of the impeachment? The exposure of the extramarital foolings-around of various Repub politicoes? Some of whom lost their jobs? Ask Livingston (sp?) about the enduring nature of this norm.

    Part of Hillary's appeal is that of the Longsuffering Wife - indicating that the norm still has some strength even in hard cases. I mean, do you think Hillary would poll as well if she took up with some bodybuilder and brought him with her on her campaign tour?

    (Wendell Wilkie was fairly open about his mistress in 1944, but the press kept it from the public, and in exchange for the Dems being quiet about this, the Repubs agreed not to make an issue of FDR's health - one coverup in exchange for another.)

  • ||

    "The great thing is to make people intelligent enough and strong enough, not to keep away from temptation, but to resist it."

    A great many folks choose to rely on God to help them resist the temptations. Some of the local churches here teach abstinence from a christian standpoint. I really have no idea if it is any more effective, but I would hope it would be amongst the faithful.

  • ||

  • ||

    jgray,

    I missed that Ingersoll quote when I was skimming his speeches. This actually makes my point for me.

    Ingersoll was against legally-enforced morality (in the context of the time, that would have included Prohibition, whose shadow was even then gathering on the horizon). Part of his argument against *legal* restraints was that there were already *social* restraints: "All the forces of civilization are in favor of morality and temperance." Just imagine if some political speaker today said this and meant it - that is, said it straight, with no scare quotes around "morality." Certain people at H&R would be baying for Ingersoll's blood! They would be calling him a fellow-traveller of the "fundamentalists."

  • ||

    Likewise, those who want to overturn the age-old norm against extramarital sex have the burden of showing why that norm should be abolished.

    The person who wants to restrict freedom has the burden. You're saying, "if you want to have freedom to do what you want with your own body, you to have prove that it's okay." This is the opposite of what makes a free society. The people who desire to decrease freedom have the burden of demonstrating why it's in society's best interest.

    And I'll just say again, the "norm" has been and probably always will be that people have sex outside of marriage. The "norm" you're talking about is an agreed upon hypocrisy in which people say that sex outside of marriage is bad, while having it nonetheless.

  • ||

    Of course, Ingersoll was speaking during the much-maligned Victorian Era. It would no longer be correct to say that "all the forces of civilization are in favor of morality and temperance." Which is why there is so much pressure for the government to fill the gap.

  • ||

    Christians will obviously argue against "fornication" from a Bible verse.
    But as I see it, it could be argued that in America, the cost is so great emotionally, socially, and in tax dollars, that abstinence should be strongly recommended.
    Has the money for abstinence education been well spent? I think not. But once again I think we are trying to do with tax dollars what should be addressed at home.

  • ||

    Les,

    "You're saying, 'if you want to have freedom to do what you want with your own body, you to have prove that it's okay.'"

    I think you missed my Obligatory Libertarian Disclaimer (TM):

    http://www.reason.com/blog/show/119650.html#679568

    I would again cite my man Frank Meyer, who advocated the freedom to be immoral, while calling upon social leaders to use moral suasion (not state coercion) to induce people to behave morally. I would like it if we could find ourselves with the libertarian legal setup advocated by Ingersoll, combined with the social support for morality which Ingersoll took for granted.

  • jgray||

    brotherben
    So if our standards of behaviour differ from yours we must be the ones that are wrong?
    no not really, i was just pointing out that the "will of [your] community" is remarkably moralistic (aside/disclaimer: i agree no Klan is probably good, dont wanna get labeled as racist, b/c i'm not any more racist than most white northeastern male....*goes and sulks in bushes* Seriously i am not a supporter of the KKK though i support their right to peacefully protest or w/e)
    sorry for rambling
    Basically you can hold any values you want, but banning strip clubs and alcohol sales on Sunday, and being 'anti'gay are not hallmarks of a 'free' society
    i.e. the will of the community cannot be allowed to discriminate against non-violent non-victimizing behaviors that some people think are immoral.
    Purely religious based legislative standards are unconstitutional and 'wrong'

  • ||

    "Purely religious based legislative standards are unconstitutional and 'wrong'"
    Granted.

    But what then shall we base our standards on?
    Laws concerning behaviours all have some moral foundation. I would suggest that most have a religious moral foundation and that the reason they are more distressing now is a decrease in religious belief in this country.

  • jgray||

    mad max
    good; we agree civilization is not such a progressive force anymore, and everyone else agrees sex outside marriage is de rigueur

    brotherben
    abstinence is of course an important concept, but the issue is abstinence only, like in a christian setting, where it will fail to reduce bad consequences of sex like teen pregnancy, STD's, emotional effects, etc., b/c the kids will never have been taught how to use a condom & other contraceptives, how to spot/prevent various venereal diseases, signs of pregnancy, and they will be scared and shamed to admit it if anything happens and will most likely be scorned by the community worse than in a non-christian setting.
    Secondly, parents do a horrible time w/ sex ed especially Christian ones, who are naturally scared and often more prude to begin with. Thus many assume children will learn on their own, or they merely tell them not to have sex or they will regret being born. (not that the state should take their place, just that parents screw up and we all have to live with the results, one price for 'freedom')

  • ||

    Truth:

    "Chad: "No one should be having sex before they are eighteen."

    This is false, because it does not cause physical harm (when both are post-pubescent)"

    If you are lucky.

    "nor does it cause involuntary emotional harm"

    Actually, it can and quite often does cause emotional harm to third parties.

    "nor does it violate anybody's rights."

    We agree on that much.

    "Nothing physical automatically happens when one becomes eighteen. It does not suddenly change the facts"

    I never said it did. Most 18 year olds should not be having sex, either. The percentages start to grow fairly rapidly, however, and most people are capable of bearing the responsibilities that intercourse entails sometime in their early twenties. Of course, some people never get there. Teenagers who have sex are gambling, hoping to get away with it without consequence, and hoping someone will bail them if something (disease, pregnancy) goes wrong. Until one is ready to bear those burdens on one's own, one should not be having sex.

    Perhaps there is a 17-year-old out there who is mature enough, financially secure enough, and educated enough to deal with these issues. I have yet to meet this person.

  • jgray||

    that decrease in religious belief didn't come out of nowhere brotherben.
    some have argued for 'rational' standards of morality, w/e those are. i for one do not know
    and am hopelessly lost in a maze of subjectivity on the topic. however we all believe in 'reason' so that is what we must use first, since it appears to us to be more factually grounded than religion (not to say religious experience, which is subjective)
    Religion is not based on freedom it is based on obedience ,submission, and authority, like the state and laws are based on. Therefore both are antithetical to an individual's freedom. The state exists vis-a-vis society, religion exists vis-a-vis 'god' and the individual and thats where religions' rules should stay, unless you want a theocracy

  • ||

    I must agree with everything you said about abstinence only education. But the parents are just gonna have to pull their head outta their butt and do the dang job. It isnt the Governments job to raise my kids and it isnt the churches job to run the state.
    the churches only concern should be with the condition of people's eternal soul.

  • ||

    That being said, there are certain behaviours that this community as a whole, (or whole enough) dont care to have around. Just as you see us as a bit puritanical, we see other communities as a bit wild. We choose to live here as this town better reflects our lifestyle choice. I am sure there are also some standards we agree on. But at some point we have to accept that short of regulating every person's every move, there has to be some open ground where a town can allow its people to expect a certain social standard. That standard varying from town to town.
    An example being certain counties in Nevada having brothels. Some places allow medicinal marijuana. There has to be room for individual community standards.

  • ||

    Mad Max:

    "The more relvant question is about number of women (or men) who had premarital sex with someone *other than the person they ultimately married.*"

    The first thing I thought when I read about the finding was "but what about the number of pre-marital partners?" We'd definitely need more information about premarital sexual behavior to conclude that not much has changed. Still, I think the question of if premarital sex was common at all is still quite relevant, but it's just the starting point.

    "The figures on premarital sex are designed to convey a specific message: "Women were having as much premarital sex in the 1950s as they were today"

    Probably so.

    Fluffy:

    "If you have sex with a person you're not married to, it's premarital sex. Period. You can't KNOW that the person you're fucking will eventually be your spouse - you can suspect it, but not know it."

    Strictly speaking, of course you are right. But if a substantial proportion of the women having premarital sex in the 50s did so with only one person, under the condition that their partner would one day marry them, and if in the majority of cases those partners did in fact one day marry them, then the context in which premarital sex was taking place in the 50s was distinctly and meaningfully different than the context in which it is taking place today.

    Mad Max:

    "If something has presumptive validity, it can still be proven false, but the burden of coming up with evidence is on the one who says it's false."

    Um, we're not in a court of law. We're talking about social norms. Though there was once a legal framework upholding the traditional norms about sexual behavior, it's been dismantled to a great extent and laws that remain on the books are looked at by many people as relics. On those occasions when those laws are enforced there is usually uproar about it. I don't think the issue of the Bill of Rights is even relevant.

    Honestly, I laughed out loud when I saw your "presumptive validity" argument. The idea that you can win the argument without defending your views because tradition is on your side is kinda lame, though I have to give you credit for chutzpah.

    "Could it be that, for those who support full-on government power, traditional family arrangements are actually an *obstacle*?"

    For sure. I would not be surprised if there is a fringe of people who openly espouse this tactic, and I definitely think that leftist politics tend in this direction whether the average leftist sees it or not.

    "Thus, increasing the number of divorced families and the number of single-mother households tends to increase the demand, and the constituency, for Big Government."

    Yes, I think you have something there. And after the nightmare that my family went through when my niece, who was born out of wedlock, got dragged through the family court system, I would advise any woman who asked to do everything in her power to reduce the possibility that she would have a child put through this. Like, always use effective birth control, properly, unless you are trying to get pregnant. Don't deliberately get pregnant if you aren't married. And take neither marriage nor divorce lightly. I mean obviously, if your husband is abusive, either physically or psychologically, then divorce is a better option.

    But in case it's not clear, I have no opposition to premarital sex, in general.

    Well, this thread is lengthy and I've only read about half of it, so here I go.

  • ||

    Max (the not-so-mad, really),

    I would again cite my man Frank Meyer, who advocated the freedom to be immoral, while calling upon social leaders to use moral suasion (not state coercion) to induce people to behave morally.

    Maybe the word "moral" is where we're getting stuck. See, I think it's absolutely possible to have moral sex outside of marriage. For some people, it's immoral to work on the sabbath. But that merely demonstrates the subjectiveness of morality. Maybe we should be talking about ethics instead of morality?

  • Thrall||

    You guys are backing into a corner. You say sex is a natural human function and desire starts at the teen years. yet many of you say they are not emotionally ready until .

    There's a problem with this emotional "Age". First, this is invented by society. Society has said what the correct age for sex is, but nature is saying different.

    Teenagers are having sex younger BECAUSE of sexual repression. Sex is evil in America and it stems from religious beliefs.

    You cannot deny the human desire for sex, and so we need to educate our children about protection if they have sex. Hell, teach your kid not to fuck until they are 42, but the government HAS NO RIGHT to tell your kid that.

    Government needs to stay out of our pants and our children's pants (?) and we need to teach our children the values we want for them.

    Go ahead, ignore science.

  • England Swings Like a Pendulum||

    Perhaps there is a 17-year-old out there who is mature enough, financially secure enough, and educated enough to deal with these issues. I have yet to meet this person.

    Two out of three:

    http://worldroots.com/brigitte/gifs/willsbirth.jpg

  • ||

    Teenagers are having sex younger BECAUSE of sexual repression. Sex is evil in America and it stems from religious beliefs.


    Really?

    "Differences in levels of teenage sexual activity across develeoped countries are small."
    (e.g., the US stats are indistinguishable from Sweden's, etc):

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/pubs/pubd/hestats/teenpreg1990-2002/teenpreg1990-2002.htm
    --> http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_teens.pdf

    Go ahead, ignore science.

    You're a very poor advertisement for that philosophy.

    Head Start: $7 Billion/year at a cost of $7K to $8K per brat per year (not including at least another $5 billion/year in similar federal baby-sitting programs).

  • Grotius||

    One should be highly skeptical of claims based on "tradition" because it is likely the case that was is "traditional" is only of recent invention. Tradition "rolls" in the Burkean sense; were are insensible to its changes. There is also on the other side of this coin a fairly deep epistemological problem involved here as well.

    These related problems are why the romantic movements of the 19th century - which sought to return to "tradition" - were so comically wrong.

  • ||

    "True abstinence education would involve disciplining students who violate canons of chastity."

    Wow, what a terrifying idea.

    We could make them wear clothes with a big red "A" on them.

  • ||

    I think you have the causality reversed on the question of premarital sex with one's eventual spouse. My mother married in 1963 BECAUSE she had had sex with this man and she assumed nobody else would marry her. Maybe people had sex first, in a less than committed relationship, and THEN decided they'd better/might as well marry this person.

  • ||

    help - squirrels!

  • ||

    On this topic, personal experience probably tells us more than the research. Older people have a better sense of what has happened than studies tell us. The conclusions of studies make the headlines and influence behavior. Do a study on that. Schools can't come up with consensus on honor codes - what do you do when you witness another student cheating? on character traits - if you find something lost, what are you to do with it? What outside of school behavior should be taught? Abstinence is expected while at school.

  • ||

    My mother married in 1963 BECAUSE she had had sex with this man and she assumed nobody else would marry her.

    And THAT is what Mad Max wants us all to return to.

  • ||

    brotherben: "It is the will of the community."

    The will of the community should not be able to do anything. Majoritarian rule can be tyrannical towards minority. There needs to be something prescriptive to prevent such tyranny.

    "Nowhere does this say the people cant pray in the public school."

    It does not say that people cannot pray in the public school by themselves, but it does say that the government cannot "pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another." If a school is prefering or aiding one/all religions, then government sponsorship of that school is tantamount to aiding that/those religion(s).

    "But as I see it, it could be argued that in America, the cost is so great emotionally, socially, and in tax dollars, that abstinence should be strongly recommended."

    The cost is actually none. There is no cost emotionally, socially. The only cost is in tax dollars. Therefore, abstinence should not be strongly recommended.

    Mad Max: "I was parodying the attitude which sees moments of silence as a horror on the level of the Inquisition."

    It may not be an Inquisition, but it still is the government favouring a specific religion over another regardless. The government still should not be free to do what they want.

    Mad Max: "There's only one way out of this situation, and that's to get the govt. out of the education business."

    This is a bad idea, because the government is necessary to give EQUAL OPPORTUNITY to people regardless of their wealth. This is important because then everybody has a good opportunity to contribute to the economy, instead of just a few rich people.

    Chad: "If you are lucky."

    As I stress, sex per se does not cause any harm. For example, eating food may contaminate people, but it is not eating food, but the contaminated-ness of the food that causes the harm.

    "Actually, it can and quite often does cause emotional harm to third parties."

    The emotional harm to third parties are their choice--they choose to be emotionally harmed. It is not involuntary emotional harm. Even so, emotional harm is not sufficient to argue against something. Perhaps I am emotionally harmed by some republican's speech--should that republican be silenced?

    "Most 18 year olds should not be having sex, either. The percentages start to grow fairly rapidly, however, and most people are capable of bearing the responsibilities that intercourse entails sometime in their early twenties. Of course, some people never get there. Teenagers who have sex are gambling, hoping to get away with it without consequence, and hoping someone will bail them if something (disease, pregnancy) goes wrong. Until one is ready to bear those burdens on one's own, one should not be having sex."

    There is no responsibility, because, as I said, it per se causes no emotional, physical, or other damage. Gambling, however, is unwise because it does cause damage.

    "Perhaps there is a 17-year-old out there who is mature enough, financially secure enough, and educated enough to deal with these issues. I have yet to meet this person."

    There are no issues, because sex does not cause one to lose money. It also does not require any intelligence.

  • eb||

    MJ raised a point that came to mind when I first heard about this study, teens in both groups used (or didn't use) condoms at the same rate. It seems that neither approach has a significantly different outcome in abstinence or safe sex practices.

    Isn't that significant? Is the whole sex-ed effort a waste of time and money?

  • ||

    Chad: (a second response)
    "If you are lucky."

    Sex does not cause any harm. It is not intended to cause any physical harm. Physical harm is merely a risk. Even so, it is merely the risk that causes the harm, not the action itself. It is instead the risk that should be prevented, not the action.

    "Actually, it can and quite often does cause emotional harm to third parties."

    It does not violate any of their rights. Also, there is nothing wrong with harming another emotionally.

    "Teenagers who have sex are gambling, hoping to get away with it without consequence, and hoping someone will bail them if something (disease, pregnancy) goes wrong."

    The latter of the two risks you speak of can easily be prevented. The latter is truly a risk, but as I have said, it is the risk that causes harm and should be prevented, not the action.

    "Perhaps there is a 17-year-old out there who is mature enough, financially secure enough, and educated enough to deal with these issues. I have yet to meet this person."

    Perhaps forsooth people need to be intelligent enough to deal with the risks of a particular action, but that does not mean that the action should be prevented. Instead, the risk should be prevented, and people need to be educated about the risk, since it is the risk instead of the action that causes harm.

    eb: "Isn't that significant? Is the whole sex-ed effort a waste of time and money?"

    Perhaps instead the government could provide free tests for diseases associated with sex. (I do doubt that this will find support, though. The public at large do not really care about those diseases, they just care about their delusory "chastity.")

  • ||

    Mad Max,

    "I genuinely didn't know that the word "progressive" was offensive."

    It's not offensive, just utterly irrelevant to this story.

    Some scientific evidence about one of your pet issues come up, evidenced that contradicts the preferred beliefs of you and yours, and you start nattering about "progressives" to change the subject.

    I just wanted to point out that your reaction to this little wake-up call from reality has been one big "Hey, Look Over There!"

  • Grotius||

    And so the never ending debate between revealed religion and philosophy continues.

  • Jennifer||

    If you have sex with a person you're not married to, it's premarital sex. Period.

    Not necessarily. I doubt I'll ever get married (unless maybe I get really tired and bored when I'm sixty), so while I've had lots of sex, none of it's been premarital anymore than its been pre-my coronation as divinely chosen Queen of England.

    If I am indeed harming society with my behavior, please give me the details of how because the weather's really crummy today and I could use some cheering up.

    P.S. I've never caught pregnant or a yucky social infection, either. Hooray for effective contraception!

  • Grotius||

    Mad Max,

    I have no brief for the Victorians, but the Victorian era in England and America was closer to the libertarian paradigm than some H&R folks seem to acknowledge.

    19th century America was as nanny-statist as 21st century America. The locus of that nanny-statism was at the state and local level though.

  • Grotius||

    Mad Max,

    *I* don't have the burden of *proving* that thousands of years of tradition are right...

    Cart before the horse. Right now you have the burden of demonstrating that this claimed pedigree actually exists. As historians of the family, sex, etc. have demonstrated fairly clearly many of our notions of what is traditional in those areas of life don't measure up to the "real" record.

  • ||

    As historians of the family, sex, etc. have demonstrated fairly clearly many of our notions of what is traditional in those areas of life don't measure up to the "real" record.

    A good starting point for this is A Midwife's Tale.

  • ||

    Perhaps instead the government could provide free tests for diseases associated with sex. (I do doubt that this will find support, though. ...)

    Actually I think that just about every County Health department in the country has a STD unit.

    It was determined a fairly long time ago that treating STDs before they were spread too widely trumped all religious concerns about the activities of those who got them.

  • ||

    "Some scientific evidence about one of your pet issues come up, evidenced that contradicts the preferred beliefs of you and yours, and you start nattering about 'progressives' to change the subject."

    joe, you're projecting. When a scientific study is published showing that a federal program is useless, my assumptions aren't challenged, yours are. You're the one who relies on the federal government to solve our problems.

  • ||

    "The will of the community should not be able to do anything. Majoritarian rule can be tyrannical towards minority. There needs to be something prescriptive to prevent such tyranny."

    What of the tyranny suffered by the minority represented by those who prefer sex with toddlers? Or those who like to kill other humans to eat their flesh? Or the minority that wants to get roaring drunk and beat the shit outta their wife while driving a truckload of explosives across Oklahoma at 100 mph?
    The will of the community is what is supposed to inspire our elected representatives to enact legislation for the overall good.And in my opinion, all law concerning behaviour affecting others is based upon moral standards. The modern problem arises when the community no longer holds the same opinions about moral issues. We all believe our way to be best and want our laws to reflect our beliefs.
    Behavioural truth is what we have chosen to believe. Any legislation regarding moral standards is therefore faith-based. We run into trouble simply because my faith is different from yours.

  • ||

    brotherben: "What of the tyranny suffered by the minority represented by those who prefer sex with toddlers? Or those who like to kill other humans to eat their flesh? Or the minority that wants to get roaring drunk and beat the shit outta their wife while driving a truckload of explosives across Oklahoma at 100 mph?"

    You have misinterpreted what I said. Tyranny here also means interfering with other people's non-tyrannical things. Killing another or intentionally harming another is tyrannical. Doing things that put other people at great risk without their consent is also tyrannical.

    The risks of consensual sex, where one is not intending to infect another is completely voluntary. Thus, it is not tyrannical.

  • ||

    brotherben: "And in my opinion, all law concerning behaviour affecting others is based upon moral standards. The modern problem arises when the community no longer holds the same opinions about moral issues. We all believe our way to be best and want our laws to reflect our beliefs.
    Behavioural truth is what we have chosen to believe. Any legislation regarding moral standards is therefore faith-based."

    Actually, it can be based upon an absolute standard. Law is sometimes to protect people's equality, sometimes to protect people's rights, and sometimes to prevent harm to people or the public. Otherwise, it is inexpedient, and/or tyrannical.

  • ||

    brotherben: "What of the tyranny suffered by the minority represented by those who prefer sex with toddlers?"

    This kind of activity causes physical harm, because the toddler is pre-pubescent.

  • ||

    What is the basis for this absolute standard?
    What is it that suggests that we are all egual?
    Why is it considered wrong to harm other people? Is there scientific evidence to support such standards? If not, what is the historical basis for these protections?

  • ||

    We cant say simply that something is wrong. We must in honesty to ourselves and others search for the foundation of that belief. It has been suggested that America was founded as a ecclesiocracy, based upon biblical principals.
    Whether or not that is true is debatable. I do see a lot of biblical standards in our laws.
    The division we are experiencing now is a result of the populace of this country moving farther away from biblical principals and belief.

    The abstinence that this conversation is centered around is a biblical thing. It is unrealistic to require that standard of society in general. Society cant attain a standard in which they dont believe. Christians are fools for thinking otherwise.

  • ||

    Teenagers who have sex are gambling, hoping to get away with it without consequence, and hoping someone will bail them if something (disease, pregnancy) goes wrong. Until one is ready to bear those burdens on one's own, one should not be having sex.

    Teenagers who drive are gambling more than they are if they have sex with a condom. Are you saying that until teens are ready to deal with the financial and medical calamity that comes from car accidents they should not be driving?

  • ||

    "Teenagers who drive are gambling more than they are if they have sex with a condom. Are you saying that until teens are ready to deal with the financial and medical calamity that comes from car accidents they should not be driving?"

    A teenager incapable of paying for car insurance should not be driving. That being said, if mommy and daddy choose to coddle their infantile teenager, they are voluntarily accepting much of the responsibility on behalf of their child. Either way, the responsibility remains.

    You bring up an interesting point, though. We restrict teenagers' right to drive based on their lack of responsibility and judgement (this varies from person to person, and is unfortunately almost impossible to measure, thereby necessitating age as a proxy). Driving and sex are roughly equally pleasurable/useful and driving is only moderately more dangerous (about twice as many car accident injuries as new STD cases each year, and about twice as many traffic fatalities as deaths due to STDs, primarily AIDS). Why the double standard? I find roads no more a public issue than communicable diseases, welfare, and demographics, all of which are affected by peoples' choice to have or not have sex.

  • ||

    A teenager incapable of paying for car insurance should not be driving.

    Even a teenager who pays for car and health insurance can be bankrupted by a car accident.

    Driving and sex are roughly equally pleasurable/useful and driving is only moderately more dangerous (about twice as many car accident injuries as new STD cases each year, and about twice as many traffic fatalities as deaths due to STDs, primarily AIDS).

    I love to drive, but I feel very, very strongly that sex is much, much more pleasurable than driving. I suspect sex wins out over driving for most considering it's ingrained into our very nature, unlike driving.

    I find roads no more a public issue than communicable diseases, welfare, and demographics, all of which are affected by peoples' choice to have or not have sex.

    I don't think that's a very good analogy. Sex is something that you agree to engage in with another person. If safe sex is practiced, your chances of being injured by sex are very low. When driving you can be hurt or killed by a stranger with whom you have no agreement. You can be driving as safely as possible and still be hurt or killed by a stranger.

    Apples and oranges, it seems to me.

  • ||

    ...is really just symbolic and needn't actually accomplish anything, just so long as it garners votes from religious conservatives"

    Surprise, surprise...it's not just "dem lib'ruls" who are into "symbolism over substance"...

  • ||

    Mad Max,

    "joe, you're projecting. When a scientific study is published showing that a federal program is useless, my assumptions aren't challenged, yours are. You're the one who relies on the federal government to solve our problems."

    The "federal program" in question here is the provision of course materials for abstinance-only sex education. This isn't a programmatic or administrative failure, it's a failure of the very idea of teaching overtly anti-sex messages in school as a means of reducing sexual behavior, disease, and unwanted pregnancy. It's a pedagogical failure - abstinance-only sex education is a failure.

  • ||

    I was pretty surprised a year or so back when I saw local bus advertisements for a abstinence-only education program done by the state government. This was in Seattle, which of course is ultra-liberal and the whole state from governor on down is dominated by Dems. I couldn't understand why Washington (state) was backing this.

    Then I realized: it was because there was federal funding available. The important thing was not whether the message was bullshit, the important thing is to spend the money.

  • ||

    Well, yes, joe, I could have told you that reaching into the federal treasury to "solve a problem" would be a failure.

    Your child-like innocence tells you that, like the children in *Peter Pan,* all you have to do is *wish* for a federal program to work and, if its' administered with enough fairy dust and good intentions, it *will* work. Contrariwise, if a federal program fails, it's not because the federal government is not a proper vehicle for addressing our problems, but because the program administrators had the wrong idea, or didn't have enough fairy dust.

  • ||

    Driving and sex are roughly equally pleasurable/useful and driving is only moderately more dangerous (about twice as many car accident injuries as new STD cases each year, and about twice as many traffic fatalities as deaths due to STDs, primarily AIDS).

    Driving deaths are not distributed in the same manner as deaths related to HIV, so this is a poor comparison. Most car accidents are in new drivers or the elderly. Most HIV related deaths are in middle aged gay men. Your average teenager is in much more danger from driving than having sex with a fellow high schooler.

  • jgray||

    Right on, Tacos-
    before Chad makes any more dubious statistical assertions, this CDC report on the leading casuses of death shows that automobile accidents are the
    NUMBER 1 cause of death for people ages 15-24. the most recent #'s from 2004 show 32.904 total deaths in the cohort, 10.874 of them from car accidents. The next 3 are
    2. Assault/ Homicide 4.877 deaths
    (1b). other accidents 4.289 deaths
    4. Suicide/intentional self harm 4.214 deaths
    #5 is Cancer almost 1680 deaths. The only STD on the list is #9 HIV with 171 deaths.
    Of course this doesn't account for diseases acquired that will later kill or hasten the death of the victim, but clearly STD's and Auto Accidents have no comparison as causes of death for the ages we're concerned about. Driving killed 26 of 100k while HIV killed 0.5; your assertion that there are about twice as many traffic fatalities as [there are] deaths due to STDs, primarily AIDS is false and irresponsible. Moreover STD's are largely preventable if proper precautions are followed which is often not the case, whereas many traffic fatalities are not as easily preventable as STD's without mass interference from the state/automakers, etc.

    Also Chad, its so ridiculous as to be incredulous to say driving and sex are more or less roughly equally pleasurable/useful
    what kind of shit is that? firstly people have sex way more often than needed to have kids. most people actually don't want kids, so sex is a 'useless' activity unless u consider it some sort of thrill seeking, selfish act unless kids are part of the plan. Nobody drives around for fun/aimlessly more than they drive with a mind to getting somewhere.
    Your other claim defies reason: unless you drive a Formula 1 car daily or never have had sex, or experience orgasms while you drive, i can assure you that sex is 'Scientifically Proven TM' to make you feel reeeaaaalllly good. Most studies I've seen don't suggest day2day driving has comparable effects on dopamine, norepinephrine, vasopressin, oxcytocin levels, etc. Driving is really neat and all, but it usually doesn't make me cream my pants. (sorry)

  • jgray||

    dammit
    left the screwed up numbering system like i knew i would despite reminding myself to fix it

    1 Accidents
    1a auto accidents
    1b other accidents
    2 Homicide
    3 Suicide
    4 Cancer
    9 is still HIV

  • Jennifer||

    Driving is really neat and all, but it usually doesn't make me cream my pants. (sorry)

    Maybe the shock absorbers are too effective.

  • ||

    The only STD on the list is #9 HIV with 171 deaths

    Given the long latency of HIV infection, death in the teenage years are alomst certainly from congenital infection. The point remains, however.

  • jgray||

    Maybe the shock absorbers are too effective

    could be (see F1 reference above) but i attribute it more to a lack of road-head

  • ||

    Keep dodging, Mad Max.

    If the course materials had been paid for by the school districts out of the account that holds state money, or the account that holds local money, they would have been the same materials, and the same teachers would have been teaching the same curriculum.

    It doesn't matter which pot of money paid for these classes - they failed. Miserably. Abstinence-only sex ed is a failure, and all you can do is pretend that it would be a success if the school districts had tapped another revenue stream.

  • ||

    You know, Mad Max, DARE classes work exactly the same way - the feds give money to the local school districts, who pay for materials and instructors.

    I suppose the failure of DARE just shows that only FEDERAL anti-drug classes work. If it was local tax dollars paying for the guy in the dog suit to tell students that cool kids don't smoke pot, it would totally work.

  • ||

    er, "....only FEDERALLY-FUNDED anti-drug classes fail."

  • ||

    ""The more relvant question is about the number of women (or men) who had premarital sex with someone *other than the person they ultimately married.*"

    Why is that the more relevant question?"

    Obviously, because it addresses the question of the number of partners, which - even if you aren't a religious type - is a question of serious social consequence.

  • ||

    As the father of an 11 year-old girl, I am not glad to hear this.

    Bush isn't pushing abstinence-only education to win the votes of religious conservatives, he's doing it to win the voters of men with daughters who don't want to admit that their little princess is a few years away from being someone else's little whore. It's a big voting bloc.

  • j.a.m.||

    Children simply should be taught the truth, namely that sexuality is a gift intended for a husband and wife to participate in the ongoing work of creation within an exclusive lifelong union, and that sexual relations outside such a union is immoral, degrading to both parties and contrary to their human dignity.

  • Don||

    So, everyone is shocked to find out that no amount of education is effective in overcoming a hard-wired natural instinct that's been around for about a billion years?

  • ||

    This is surely the most messed-up piece of garbage published anywhere on the web this year:

    "Even if the school stayed coed, the administrators could at least decide to treat an unchaste student *at least* as harshly as a student who wore a Confederate battle flag T-shirt. That in itself would have more educational value than any number of "abstinence classes."

    Yes! Conservative moral relativism! Doesn't the irony make your head spin so fast it falls off?

    The report on the failed policy of abstinence only sex education should give you some insight as to what might happen if a principal were to call in a student and say something like "Johnny, I've heard you've been fucking Suzie like there is no tomorrow. I think you should reconsider this, as your peers might get the wrong impression. You can make this choice, but you will have lost the respect of many people..."

    Methinks the kid would probably call it like it is:

    "I feel sorry for you you old loser. Its not my problem that your wife doesn't put out anymore. If my choices offend you, than be offended. You have lost my respect, and that of most of the hormonally and emotionally wound up kids at school. Having contempt for youth is not an attribute we seek in school leaders. Since you no longer have any credibility with mature students, who refuse to be lectured to by morons who want to believe that 16 year olds are incapable of anything, we wish you very little luck in managing the immature students who occasionally create mayhem around here. You want me to be chaste because someone else can't use a condom, or because of some presumed psychological harm that is *obviously not happening* to the vast majority of the student population? GO FUCK YOURSELF!!!!!!!!"

  • dhex||

    "A teenager incapable of paying for car insurance should not be driving."

    so kids will learn to drive in their mid 20s?

  • ||

    Children simply should be taught the truth, namely that . . .

    Oh, THAT truth! I would've thought the truth might involve things like actual statistics regarding disease and pregnancy, plus information about things like emotional trauma and effects (positive or negative) on subsequent ability to form emotionally significant attachments. I gather, though, that the religious truth according to j.a.m. should be spread throughout the land with my tax money? Hmmm. Somebody needs to reconsider what constitutes "human dignity."

  • M. Simon||

    Mad Max says:

    True abstinence education would involve disciplining students who violate canons of chastity..

    Discipline alone will not cut it. What they need is bondage and discipline. Video taped. Copies available in the school store. pour l'encourager les autres

  • M. Simon||

    j.a.m. | April 15, 2007, 10:48pm | #

    Children simply should be taught the truth, namely that sexuality is a gift intended for a husband and wife to participate in the ongoing work of creation within an exclusive lifelong union, and that sexual relations outside such a union is immoral, degrading to both parties and contrary to their human dignity.

    How did humans manage before we had marriage?

  • M. Simon||

    Mad Max says:

    True abstinence education would involve disciplining students who violate canons of chastity..

    Discipline alone will not cut it. What they need is bondage and discipline. Video taped. Copies available in the school store. pour l'encourager les autres

  • ||

    Nonsense. Another flawed study. The practicalities of sex without abortion, a generous welfare safety net and effective birth control discouraged many of us. Pregnancy resulted in unplanned marriage. This was a major inhibitor. I suspect sex among engaged folks may have been at current levels, but even us boys from the "wrong side of the tracks" understood the awesome responsibilities and risks.

  • ||

    "and all you can do is pretend that it would be a success if the school districts had tapped another revenue stream."

    joe, I know you aren't stupid, and I know you've read my posts, so what explains your misrepresentation of my position? You can't possibly believe that I support the sex-education boondoggle in any of its forms, including the "abstinence education" program, which I've attacked in this very thread. I didn't say it needed another revenue stream.

    Your defense of the government schools and the "sex educaton" industry is like some unusually dim Soviet Commisar's litany of excuses for the failure of the latest five-year plan. There's nothing inherently wrong with the collective farms, you see, but in this particular period the harvest was harmed by bad weather, not to mention right-wing saboteurs and wreckers.

    Likewise, when the government schools fail to produce the promised results - smarter, more sensitive, sexually enlightened kids - then you assume that it must be right-wing, theocratic sabotage that's to blame.

    "Nothing wrong with the *concept* of government schools and sex ed, comrades - oops, I mean fellow-citizens - but the public schools keep getting sabotaged by Trotsykites - oops, I mean conservatives."

  • ||

    correction: I'm stipulating, for the sake of argument, that joe isn't stupid. I don't know if he actually is, or whether he's a smart person posing as a dumb guy.

  • ||

    "Discipline alone will not cut it. What they need is bondage and discipline. Video taped. Copies available in the school store. pour l'encourager les autres"

    That's one way to do it, I suppose, but I was thinking more along the lines

    Once government-operated schools have been relegated to the dustbin of history along with government-operated churches and government-operated steel mills, parents will have the resources to choose private schools in which students caught canoodling in the broom closet are treated as seriously as today's government schools treat students who are caught with butter knives or water pistols.

    Of course, parents who think that's too repressive will be able to select more liberal schools, or educate their kids at home.

  • ||

    along *these* lines:

  • ||

    The commment from the WaPo article about women born in the 1940's doing it is a red herring. Basic math skills show that those born in the 1940s were the ones who came of age in the 60's free love era. Not exactly the previous generation one should make comparisons against.

  • ||

    " I gather, though, that the religious truth according to j.a.m. should be spread throughout the land with my tax money? Hmmm."

    Nahhh. We are already tax-exempt with our multi million dollar income,(yes, per church.)
    That leaves us plentious to wash our brains and pay each other a phat fat salary.

    RON, you hit the nail right on the head. A lack of self control almost always produces unintended consequences.

    And just so ya'll know, I think the young ladies should suffer a public spanking.

    tee hee

  • ||

    So here's what I don't get.

    Assume that "society" as a whole really, truly frowns upon premarital sex. One can (hopefully) agree that no matter how much it disapproves of premarital sex, it approves of, say, first-degree murder even less. The genetic imperative to kill somebody in cold blood is also much weaker on average than the imperative to have consensual intercourse in one's teens and early twenties.

    So if telling people "don't kill other people" doesn't work, and no remotely intelligent human being would ever argue that we should abandon the criminal-justice system and try it, then why does anybody think just saying "don't have sex" will have an effect?

  • ||

    Obviously, because it addresses the question of the number of partners, which - even if you aren't a religious type - is a question of serious social consequence.

    Why would the number of partners someone has had be a question of serious social consequence?

  • Josh||

    Something this study doesn't really mention, other than as an aside in the methodology section, is that these numbers don't really include the number of people who don't have sex before marriage. Basically, respondents who either had never had sex or were married before they had sex are "censored" from the results. (His term, not mine.)

    So basically, what this study says is: 99% of the people who didn't get married before they were 44 years old had premarital sex, either by having had sex and never marrying, or by having sex before marriage. Well, even that doesn't actually capture what this study says. It's more: 99% of the people who had premarital sex or weren't married by the age of 44 had premarital sex. Or something.

    Truthfully, I'm not entirely sure what his term "censored" means, but I'm with a previous poster who expressed skepticism that 99% of ANY group would participate in ANY elective activity, particularly one that still has some social stigma attached. I've never done any research into this particular methodology, but the results seem to suggest that people who don't have premarital sex before getting married aren't counted.

    Realistically, even if only 10% of the population gets married before they have sex, that would seem to place a 90% cap on the number who have premarital sex. By this study, the way it's worded, only 1% of the population gets married before having sex. Sorry, but I think there's probably a greater than 1% section of the population that can't convince someone else to have sex with them.

    Wait, there's more! The study only counts vaginal sex. So don't you think there is a greater than 1% section of the population that is male homosexual?

    I'm getting more convinced that this study really says: If you're going to have premarital sex, 99% of the time you're going to do it before age 44. Does this surprise anybody?

    Josh

  • ||

    Im on ur computer posting in ur teen sex thread.

  • sadcox||

    It isn't premarital sex if you never get married.

  • ||

    Wow. As hopelessly late to the thread as I am, I can't believe not one person thought to point out that Mad Max actually claimed with a straight face that argumentum ad antiquitatem deserved presumption of validity.

  • ||

    >"
    Why would the number of partners someone has had be a question of serious social consequence?"

    Why?; because with too many partners one stands in risk of forgetting their names or the addresses of their country houses, and so will not be able to send the proper complement of post-sexual thank-you cards.

    And that would be immoral.

  • Nothing Works||

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3902107.html

    Turns out if you teach people to use contraceptives, they use them at the same rates they did before the class.
    Can we stop wasting money on BS and add a math class? I suggest probability and statistics.

  • ||

    "Ancient wisdom teaches that the argumentum ad antiquitatem is invalid."

    http://www.csam.montclair.edu/~benham/funstuff/logical.html

    By the way, Son of a!, you also invoked the argument from incredulity.

  • ||

    a/k/a the appeal to incredulity.

    I can't believe you would use one logical fallacy to counteract another.

  • ||

    "Ancient wisdom teaches that the argumentum ad antiquitatem is invalid."

    You do realize that page is a series of jokes, right?

    And I wasn't really trying to use my incredulity to "prove" you were wrong. I was just honestly surprised no one else had thought to point it out. This is a pretty long thread, after all.

  • ||

    "You do realize that page is a series of jokes, right?"

    Yes

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